The Celebration Pavilion, the latest project of Ferris’ welding students and faculty, is one of the largest projects that has been created for the community.
The university, the city of Big Rapids, local artists and private businesses and industries work together to create sculptures that support the community.
According to David Murray, Ferris welding engineering technology professor, the inspiration for the pavilion came from the city manager after his exposure to the Sunken Gardens in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Murray and Marlies Manning, the landscaping architect for the project, went to see the Sunken Gardens for this project.
“The gardens are beautiful, each year there is a different theme, and people rotate the responsibility of keeping the gardens up,” Murray said. “I think eventually that is what they are going to do here in Big Rapids.”
According to Murray, the project started three years ago with a group of four students working on the design of the super structure. The second year of the project, the superstructure that holds the artwork, what they call the spiders, were made by another group of students. The third and final year of the project, the art panels were placed in the spiders, along with a quote, which was completed by another group of students.
“My favorite part was fabricating, cutting the part to making it fit,” said Ferris welding engineering technology junior Eyad Alnasser. “The most challenging part was getting up in the morning, but I was excited to work for the community and in the end, the Mayor came and gave us all a certificate, so hard work really does pay off.”
The artwork for the laser cut aluminum dome, designed by Manning, tells the story of the Big Rapids community enjoying the four seasons and all the area has to offer. Inscribed on the inside is a quote from Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
Each group of students worked on the project for a welding class. It was all volunteer work and no one was paid for putting time into the pavilion.
“I hope the community really likes and enjoys it because it is really beautiful, and it would make me happy if they benefit from it,” said Ferris welding engineering technology junior Ahmed Alsamiri. “It makes me proud that it is from the welding department to the community.”
The Sunken Gardens is rented nearly each week to celebrate weddings, so the theory is that the citizens of Big Rapids use the Celebration Pavilion to celebrate.
Murray believes that students that had the chance to work on the project should be proud of the project and the reason that he does projects like this is the whole idea of community service and giving back to the community.
The Celebration Pavilion is located at Mitchell Creek Park in Big Rapids.